Changes hit us all the time, but they’re rarely abrupt. Small alterations occur daily, and we don’t notice until the difference is impossible to ignore. This is especially true for operations.
Before the processes you carefully developed erode, read through these 6 signs of erosion. If any apply to your IT services company, it’s time to consider re-engaging with Sea-Level.
1. Staff Turnover Occurred
New hires often don’t know the why behind an operational process and its design. They miss the nuance and don’t fully follow the procedure. Not surprisingly, the intended outcomes are greatly reduced. This is compounded over time because your newest team member doesn’t recognize that results are diminishing.
MSP coaching closes the knowledge gap. Your coach will explain the reasoning and then train your team to inspect for and enforce the process.
2. You’ve Outgrown Processes Initially Developed with Your MSP Coach
You may have initially engaged us when you had a small team, maybe 7 or 8 employees. Everyone reported directly to you, and a single person oversaw proposals, purchasing and dispatching. We worked with you and developed an end-to-end process specific to your circumstances at that time.
Since then, you’ve grown. Proposals, purchasing and dispatching are handled by different people. New processes need to be designed to reflect how you operate.
We coach differently to be in one growth stage vs. the previous one
- Maturity Stage One – Owner is in the thick of the operations and is either doing or directly managing most, if not all, functions.
- Maturity Stage Two – Owner recognizes the need for assistance and one or two service managers have joined the team.
- Maturity Stage Three – Current management structure no longer supports growth; new processes are developed and team members are added.
- Maturity Stage Four– Owner is typically disengaged from the company and may even be developing an exit strategy.
Any time you’re ready to inject a new level of leadership into the company or are transitioning between phases, it’s an automatic indication you’ll need to re-engage. Processes are built with the existing leadership in place. As that shifts, process falls apart. This might be because the new owner of a certain function doesn’t understand the need for the process or that the process was built for a different management structure than what is now in place.
As you move through the models of maturity, almost every operational process needs to be revisited and re-architected with an executive MSP coach.
3. Plans for Growth or Change Have Stalled
Let’s say you want to transition from being a break-fix MSP to an all-you-can-eat model. You can’t make this change overnight – you’d have no revenue and be out of business. You need to gradually introduce services, adding new options only when you’re comfortable with your most recent offering. When you stop progressing toward your goal and/or profit margins fall short, step back and ask why.
4. Your Focus Drifted Away from Operational Excellence
You might have noticed that when you were working with us, we knew the process and how to keep you on track to reach your operational goals. You made fantastic improvements and vowed they’d stay in place long after working with your Sea-Level executive coach. Then your focus shifted to other matters. Your process drifted downward and your service boards aren’t nearly as good as they were. You’ve gone down a rabbit hole and expect your team to correct course without a map.
It happens even when we’re still working with clients
We occasionally ask to see service boards during random phase 5 inspections. A common response is, “Oh, I’m embarrassed to show you …” The goal isn’t to play “gotcha” with clients; it’s to keep your processes best-in-class. If a system falters, it’s an opportunity to talk about why it happened and what to do to get it back in operational order. If this occurs when we regularly check in with clients, it inevitably happens when coaching stops.
5. You Need Financial or Owner Coaching
We’ve expanded from only working with MSPs on operations to include financial coaching and coaching for owners. We have expert executive coaches who can guide you through the nuances of financial planning and management to help build a financial framework and help you meet service leadership benchmarks. Our owner coaches are former business owners themselves and work with you on just about anything you need as an owner, from team management to exit strategies to just holding you accountable to your goals. No matter what waters you’re uncertain about, we have a coach who can steer you toward success.
6. It’s Been Several Years Since You Worked with an MSP Coach
Like you, we’ve been on a journey – continually improving each step of the way. Our initial Operations Guide was based on companies we had worked with up to that point. Over the past 9 years, it’s undergone a massive overhaul. We’ve added to our guide, incorporating experiences and lessons from the expertise of our 12 executive coaches and our work with hundreds of IT service companies. Whether new or returning, clients engaged with us now benefit from our expanded knowledge base.
We Don’t Have ‘Former’ Clients
We are happy when you’re ready to continue on your own. (In fact, our team celebrates when clients want to take a pause because we’re so dang proud of the work our clients put in!) But, there’s no such thing as a “former” Sea-Level client. If you’ve worked with us, whether you know it or not, you are part of our community. All of our coaches celebrate your successes and look forward to the opportunity to help you correct course and take your business to the next level. If you find yourself “going down a rabbit hole,” reach out to us online or call 855-473-2538.